Devloping men of character.
That was at the heart of Washington High School’s new head football coach David Everson’s message to the community members he met with on the campus at Liberty Hall Thursday, March 2.
Everson took one of his first steps as the new coach by visiting Washington High School and meeting with returning football players for next season.
“We had, I think, 52 kids,” Everson said. “They were very attentive to some of the things I was talking about. We kind of talked about some expectations for what I expect moving forward. They were all real receptive to me. I had the opportunity to meet them and to shake their hand on the way out.”
The meeting lasted about 20 minutes, Everson said.
“I got some information from them,” Everson said. “We’ll be doing some Zoom meetings moving forward, starting with the senior group. We’ll get the chance to kind of get to know each other and build that relationship. Especially with the fact that I still have some time to finish up at Marysville until the end of the school year, (I) will not get here as much as I’d like to be. We’ll use Zoom and some technology to continue that process of getting to know more about the kids.
“They told me they enjoyed (the meeting) and they’re looking forward to the program moving forward, for sure,” Everson said.
Superintendent Dr. Tom Bailey thanked those attending the event.
“After going through the vetting process, we think we’ve found the absolute best candidate for Blue Lion football,” Bailey said.
Washington High School Athletic Director Greg Phipps thanked the selection committee, which, in addition to himself, was comprised of Dr. Bailey, Dr. Zach Camp, Angie Haithcock and Jeff Conroy.
“Many hours went into going through 17 résumés and applications and the whole process of many, many interviews to select the final one,” Phipps said. “We unanimously agreed that this young man, and I call him young because he is young at heart, without a doubt, will be ready to lead (on) the field of play, but most of all, we feel like he’s going to be able to lead our athletes in the future (of their lives).
“We all know that football is not going to last the rest of their lives,” Phipps said. “We believe he’s going to prepare these young men for (life).”
“First of all, I just want to thank Dr. Bailey and the committee for the opportunity to be named the next head football coach at Washington High School,” Everson said. “It is an honor to be here.
“I had the good fortune to meet the kids this morning,” Everson said. “Our players for 2023 and beyond. We had a great meeting. They were very attentive. They did a great job of shaking my hand and welcoming me here.
“I’m going to share a few things with you guys that I shared with them this morning,” Everson said.
Everson gave some background on his own history and some of the things he’s done and places he’s been on the journey which has led him to Washington High School.
In a presentation, Everson showed pictures of himself, including as a high school football player at Richmond Edison.
“That’s where it all started for me,” Everson said. “Going into my junior season, we had a similar transition. We had a new football coach (Rich Weiskircher) come into our town, our community and our program. He had such a profound impact on me as a young student-athlete and probably set the course for what I wanted to become.
“He made me believe in myself,” Everson said. “Not only me, but all of our teammates. We went from a program that, in my sophomore year had won three games, lost six and tied one. Back in that day, you could end a game in a tie. We didn’t have overtime.”
The next season, the team went 10-0.
“Unfortunately, at the conclusion of that season, we did not make the playoffs,” Everson said. “It was structured differently and they only took the top four teams in each region.
“It was an amazing turnaround,” Everson said. “Rich Weiskircher is a Hall of Fame coach. He led us to believe in ourselves. It charted the way for what became my career.”
The team’s success continued in Everson’s senior year as the team again went undefeated.
“We made the playoffs (that year) and made it to the Regional finals,” Everson said. Everson’s team lost to Newark Catholic that season.
“Coach Weiskircher was the reason why I do what I do,” Everson said. “I want to give back to the kids I coach. That’s the reason I went into education.”
Everson introduced family members in attendance; wife Stacey, sons Andrew and Ben and daughter Sydney. Step-daughters Melaney and Makenna were unable to attend.
“When you get a chance to meet my wife, you’ll understand why I am who I am,” Everson said. “And why I can do what I do and that’s because of Stacey. She’s my rock. She’s the reason why I can do these things.”
Everson said he was there to maximize the growth of the Blue Lion football program.
“(I’m here to) lead, guide, push and mentor the players to be the best student-athletes they can possibly be,” Everson said. “To lead, guide and push us to be the absolute best team we can be.”
The student comes first regarding student-athletes, Everson said.
“We’re going to talk about the kids on a daily basis,” Everson said. “We’re going to monitor them in academics because I told them today that their academics are going to take them a lot further than their athletics will.”
You hear an awful lot about culture when it comes to sports. Changing the culture of a team, turning the culture around, instilling a winning culture.
Everson spoke to that.
“Culture is extremely important to me, but it just doesn’t happen overnight,” Everson said. “That’s why I talk about a process. We began the process this morning (meeting the players) of building a culture; what our culture is going to be about, what the Blue Lion football program is going to be about; who we’re going to be.”
Everson talked about developing men of character and the importance of that to him.
“We’re not always going to be able to control some of the things that happen,” Everson said. “How many games we win and how many games we lose. That’s not going to be our pure focus. Our focus is going to be, are we going to be developing men of character. Because, that’s the most important thing.”